Broken Glowforge Rollers - A trip to the hardware store

To attempt to fix wheel guide…


Do you still have the broken pieces? Or know someone who owns a 3d printer? I would suggest either way you do not use any of the metal parts you picked up there because if they do make contact with he gantry they could potentiality scar up the aluminum frame and then you will really be sol.


I own a 3d printer… have not used it much. I did post a request asking if anyone could make a file for a 3d printer. As it stands, I am trying to use the nylon pieces i picked up… and i have the broken pieces… super glue did not work-


Sry to hear super glue did not work. have you ever been to a site called tinkercad, it is a free place to design things for the 3d printer. with a few simple tutorial videos im sure you would be able to design one, there are different versions of the wheels for different iterations of the machine so it would be difficult for someone to design one for you or possibly would be. There is also a site called thingiverse and there are some models there that would give you a great starting point that you could then modify in tinkercad, i do that from time to time.


thanks so much. I checked thingiverse but did not think to check tinkercad. will try that


For being a free tool it is pretty useful and not as intimidating as using a full fledged 3d design program for people who are new to it.

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gotcha. I would prefer to pay someone to design it :laughing:


What kind of part do you need? If it’s simple enough, I’l take a crack at it for free.

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ahhhh!!! thank you! I am looking for the wheel that rolls the carriage along the gantry


There is more than one type, and they contain an integral bearing. Do you have those bearings?


If you can post some pictures of the exact part you’re talking about, I can probably take the dimensions off my Glowforge.

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The black wheels that are under the laser module


That looks pretty straightforward. As eflyguy asks, you still have the original bearings, so you just need the black plastic part?

Do you have a set of calipers, and if so, might you be able to take some measurements off of the hardware? Otherwise I might have to disassemble the gantry on my machine, which I’d prefer not to do if I can avoid it.


yes… just the plastic part

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Cool. I actually took one off my GF, so I can get all the dimensions from here. The wheels on mine (a Glowforge PLUS) are made from a clear material, but they look the same as what you have.

You’ll (eventually) need the bearing, the bolt, and the aluminum spacer from your original, but I wouldn’t rip apart your old wheel just yet…

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Thank you so much for trying! Fingers crossed!


Ok, here’s a quick stab at it. I took the dimensions off of mine, and the render looks pretty good to my eye. I don’t know if you’ll have trouble printing this, due to the slope inside the groove. I would try to print it without any support material, and probably 100% infill.

Try printing this and see how it looks. If this works, you’ll probably want to replace both wheels eventually, but let’s make sure the part is correct first.

Let me know how it goes.


ReplacementGantryWheel.stl (417.2 KB)

UPDATE: (Because apparently I am a “new user” and am limited to 3 replies per thread)

This is all good feedback/speculation about the strength of 3D printed parts, but really the only way to know if it is strong enough is to print one (or more) and test it. It literally took me 15 minutes to go to my shop, take the wheel off my printer, caliper the dimensions, design the part, and upload the design with my description. This part should probably print in about 20 minutes. So the time investment in printing a set of these and installing them in a Glowforge should be under an hour.

So even if they only last 3 months, it’s still not a terrible solution.

The actual real solution would be for the folks at Glowforge to drop a set of replacement rollers in the mail to anyone who needs them. I’m assuming (since I saw the post to tech support) that @simplygage is exploring this option with them directly.

In any event, here is a minor tweak to the design that adds a bit of material to the bottom of the groove. This should strengthen the part and also provide more contact area with the rail to spread the forces more evenly. However, it might (depending on how it fits) change the effective radius of the wheel by 0.25mm, if that matters.

ReplacementGantryWheel_v2.stl (576.0 KB)

In the words of Master Yoda: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”


@ben1 I don’t use TinkerCAD. This part is defined to the precise numerical dimensions measured off the original part. Most hobbyist-grade 3D printers are limited in the materials they can handle.

Certainly the best course would be for Glowforge to provide the correct replacement. Based on some comments here, this is apparently a common point of failure. However, @simplygage asked if there is a temporary solution in the Problems and Support area and was told (by the service rep who closed the thread there) that there is not. She has been seeking some kind of resolution to this simple hardware failure for several days on this forum. might also be interested, as might @chynnalou23, @sstrouse, @brandy.gaskin, and probably several others. (I would reference all of them by @ but ever since I hopped in to help out here, the forum software is suddenly restricting every post I try to make.) Scanning the P&S section right now, I see at least half a dozen open support tickets that appear to be caused by a wheel failure, and GF is apparently having great difficulty providing replacement parts.

If it was my machine that was down, and I was going on several days without a solution, and I was resorting to spending money scouring the hardware store for parts that might fit, I would try a PLA wheel in a heartbeat.

What’s that saying? “Do not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”


awesome!!! i’ll give it a shot and let you know how it goes!
thank you thank you thank you


I’m very interested on how well this works.

I would think the nature of how 3D printing works, that this wheel would have a very short life. I mean, you can always print more… but the pressures and movement of the thing seems like it will easily cut it right in half.

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I would add that I think you will want to print that standing up and not in the orientation shown. You would be rolling it around at the points layers are adhering together which makes it a weak point. If you print it vertically it will likely stand up to time a bit better. Though that adds another issue. Stairstepping will probably not make it roll smoothly so you’ll want to sand it smooth. And to get a little more advanced, make sure it’s 100% infill. You want it solid. And to make it stronger you might want to look up annealing your print. That does tend to shrink the piece a bit but makes it much stronger. Determine how much it shrinks and appropriately scale up the object in your slicer.